Certified Energy Manager Exam

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The Certified Energy Manager (CEM) certification was created in 1981 by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), an international, nonprofit professional society founded in 1977.[1] Certifications such as the CEM have become more important as the green building industry has grown; according to a survey conducted by the AEE, 72% of energy professionals indicate that there is a significant shortage of qualified professionals in the energy efficiency and renewable energy fields.[2]

The CEM certification program was accredited by ANSI in 2013.[3]

Function of the Test

CEM Study Guide

The CEM certification is intended to recognize the skills and abilities of individuals who work to optimize the energy performance of buildings and facilities. This work is interdisciplinary and involves managing electrical, mechanical, process, and building infrastructure. Holders of the CEM certificate often hold positions such as Energy Engineer, Industrial Facility Manager, Energy Efficiency Consultant, or Resource Efficiency Manager.[4]

Eligibility to take the CEM examination is determined by balancing education against experience. There are six ways to qualify for the examination, ranging from a very high level of education with 3+ years of energy engineering/management experience to no formal education with 10+ years of experience in energy engineering/management.[5] Candidates must also attend a training seminar by an approved training provider.[5]

The AEE reports that there are over 14,000 active Certified Energy Managers.[4]

Test Administration

CEM Flashcards

The fee to apply for the CEM certification and take the examination is $400, which includes a $200 application fee and a $200 examination fee.[6] The certification must be renewed every three years for a fee of $300.[5]

The process of applying for the CEM certification is quite complex. The candidate's application is scored and given a point value which helps to determine whether the candidate will receive the certification or not. To earn points, candidates must provide official educational transcripts as well as several documented references from employers and/or clients attesting to the candidate's energy-related work. For example, depending on degrees obtained and substantiating documentation submitted, candidates may earn up to 350 points for educational credentials. Points are also earned for professional registration and years of properly-documented work experience. The passing score for the application is 700 out of a possible 1400 points.[6]

The AEE encourages applicants to submit the fully completed application packet at least four weeks prior to the desired exam date, or at least eight weeks prior if the candidate wishes to request an initial review by the the CEM Board to ensure that all necessary materials are in order.[6]

Candidates may take the CEM examination at an ACT testing center[7] or at a live AEE seminar.[6] Because it is mandatory to attend a training seminar before taking the examination, and because there are multiple approved training partners offering both online and live training options, there is no centralized schedule of exam dates or locations. Candidates are encouraged to follow the instructions of their selected AEE-approved training partner in scheduling the examination.[5]

The CEM examination is a written open-book examination with a four-hour time limit. The examination has 130 multiple-choice questions.[5] Candidates are encouraged to bring their own hand calculator to the examination. Computers, tablets, and cell phones are not allowed to be used.[5]


Sections of the CEM Test
CEM Test Subject Areas Minimum Maximum
Codes and Standards 4% 6%
Energy Accounting and Economics 11% 14%
Energy Audits and Instrumentation 11% 15%
Electrical Systems 5% 7%
HVAC Systems 5% 7%
Motors and Drives 5% 6%
Industrial Systems 4% 6%
Building Envelope 4% 5%
CHP Systems and Renewable Energy 4% 5%
Fuel Supply and Pricing 4% 5%
Building Automation and Control Systems 4% 6%
High Performance Buildings 4% 5%
Thermal Energy Storage Systems 3% 4%
Lighting Systems 5% 7%
Boiler and Steam Systems 4% 6%
Maintenance and Commissioning 4% 6%
Energy Savings Performance Contracting and Measurement and Verification 4% 5%
Total 100% 100%

Test Environment

Testing takes place at remote testing centers, where candidates are expected to arrive at least half an hour before their testing period so that they may sign in. For admission, candidates must provide a government issued, photo ID. The CEM is a paper and pencil test, and calculators are allowed for this exam, however there are some restrictions. Smartphones, tablets, computers, electronic writing pads, and calculators built into cell phones or other electronics are all prohibited. This is an open book exam.[8]

Test Structure

The Certified Energy Manager Exam has 17 areas of knowledge: Codes and Standards; Energy Accounting and Economics; Energy Audits and Instrumentation; Electrical Systems; HVAC Systems; Motors and Drives; Industrial Systems; Building Evelope; CHP Systems and Renewable Energy; Fuel Supply and Pricing; Building Automation and Control Systems; High Performance Buildings; Thermal Energy Storage Systems; Lighting Systems; Boiler and Steam Systems; Maintenance and Commissioning; and Energy Savings, Performance Contracting, and Measurement and Verifcation. There are 130 questions in all with four hours to complete the entire exam.[9]

Sample Questions

More free CEM practice test questions.


The CEM consists of 130 questions, of which 120 are scored. The remaining 10 questions are pretest items scattered throughout the examination which are being assessed for inclusion on future versions of the CEM exam.[6]

The CEM is divided into seventeen types of questions. Refer to the table below:

Performance on the CEM examination is converted to a scale of 1044 points. The conversion is very simple: the raw score is multiplied by 8.7 points, such that a raw score of 120 yields 1044 points and a raw score of 60 yields 522 points.[10] This means that guessing is not penalized; incorrect answers are simply worth zero points. The passing score for the CEM exam is 700 points, which corresponds to a raw score of 81 out of 120.[6]

Recent Developments

The AEE announced on December 5, 2013 that the CEM certification had received accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under the ANSI/ISO/IEC Standard 17024 for Personnel Certification Bodes.[3][4]


  1. ^ Association of Energy Engineers' Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®) Gains Accreditation from ANSI May 19 2014
  2. ^ Green Jobs: Survey of the Energy Industry May 19 2014
  3. ^ a b Association Of Energy Engineers' Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®) Program Gains Accreditation From American National Standards Institute May 19 2014
  4. ^ a b c What Distinguishes the Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®) Credential? May 19 2014
  5. ^ a b c d e f The Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®) Program for Professional Certification May 19 2014
  6. ^ a b c d e f Certified Energy Manager Instructions & Application: CEM Exam with Live Seminar Version May 19 2014
  7. ^ Frequently Asked Questions May 19 2014
  8. ^ Remote Testing Information 14 July 2014
  9. ^ CEM Exam Information 14 July 2014
  10. ^ Study Guide: Certified Energy Managers Exam May 19 2013